You want to create your own blog? We’ll help with our tips!© Rawpixel / shutterstock
Do you want to create a blog yourself? We reveal how it works: Web logs are among the most successful social media. They are just as important for companies as they are for the modern online citizen. There are many topics for private blogs. Whether vacation, hobby or club: With a weblog, events, thoughts and ideas can be recorded and shared with other people all over the world. Follow our step-by-step guide to creating your own free weblog.
1. First steps with WordPress: create an account and a new weblog
For this workshop we use the blog software WordPress, the most popular and most used of all. There you can set up a free weblog and use it for an unlimited time. The “WordPress.com Beginners” offer includes up to three GB of storage space for content (web space). The paid tariffs “WordPress.com Premium” and “WordPress.com Business” offer additional functions such as your own Internet address (domain) or special design templates (premium templates).
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For a free weblog, go to www.wordpress.com and click Build Website. Enter your email address and choose a username and password that you will later use to identify yourself as the blog administrator. Also enter the first part of the address “FirstPart.wordpress.com”. Only addresses that are not yet used can be selected. If all entries are correct, you will see four green ticks. Click “No thanks. I’ll take the free address” and then click “Create a blog” at the bottom of the “WordPress.com Beginners” column. Attention: You will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your e-mail address. Wait a little longer and follow our workshop step 2 first. Then you can click on the confirmation link.
In addition to free weblogs, WordPress.com also offers premium tariffs with interesting additional functions.© WordPress
2. Specify blog details and select design template
After clicking “Create blog” it will take a few seconds before you see the “Set up your blog” screen. There you can correct the title of your blog again, assign a tagline as a subtitle and select the language if you do not use WordPress in German and want to blog in a language other than German. Then click on “Next step”. Now you need to choose a theme – the design of your weblog. You can always change it later. After clicking on a theme you will see details about it. Every theme offers the basic blog functions, but special functions may depend on the template. Only trying out helps. Note that not all templates are free. After clicking on “Next step” you can still connect your blog to WordPress or Twitter.
3. Write and publish your first blog post
Now write your first blog article and get to know the most important functions of the WordPress editor. First enter a meaningful title, without it no post can be published. You type in the content either visually or as text. In Visual mode, you work in a similar way to a word processing program, whereby text can be formatted using the buttons at the top of the large input field. In Text mode, on the other hand, you work with HTML commands. You can switch back and forth between the two modes at any time.
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To add an image to your post, go to the text you want and choose Add Files. Then click Choose Files and browse for the image file on your computer. After the image has been uploaded, it will appear in the media library. Give it a title and add a caption to Caption. If this field remains empty, only the image is displayed. Select the alignment, for example left-aligned, and click on “Insert into the post”.
Before you publish your post, preview the result. With Save you can accumulate blog posts without publishing them immediately, for example to continue editing a text you have started later. With “Publish on…” you put your contribution online, unless you have set a time for publication under “Change status”.
4. Extras in the editor: Determine keywords, contribution image and settings
In the editor you enter new articles and edit existing ones. The operation is reminiscent of Word.© WordPress
You have probably already noticed the function bar on the right-hand edge of the editor. It offers some important options, such as keywords (tags) and categories. This will bring order to your blog articles. Readers can search for keywords and categories can be used as menu items, for example. Upload an additional image for the article under Featured Image, which will illustrate it on overview pages and in search results. We journalists call such an image a lead or teaser. The Extract option is also useful. If you enter a short version of the text there, it will be used on overview pages and in search results.
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Also look at the “Advanced Settings”. Every now and then you need the option offered to prohibit readers from commenting on an article. You can also hide the Like and Share buttons that normally appear below each post if you want. Under Slug, enter a term that will make the blog post’s web address (URL) more readable. If no slug is entered, WordPress uses the title of the post at the end of the URL.
5. My Website: Simplified WordPress control center
Click on “My Website” to go to the simplified WordPress.com control center; simplified because there is another administration interface with the dashboard. See step 6. Before you start exploring the dashboard, you should be familiar with My Site.
Most designs can be individualized via the Customize menu item, for example in terms of colour.© WordPress
Most important is the menu on the left. After clicking on “View website” you will see your blog. The aforementioned dashboard is hidden behind WP-Admin. The statistics show when and how often blog articles were read, how often they were clicked on and what comments were made. In this way, every blogger can easily see what the readers like and what they don’t like. All articles are listed under Blog Posts – divided into Published, Drafts, Scheduled (clock icon) and Deleted (trash can). Click on “Add” to write a new post – you already know the editor. In addition to blog posts, there are pages such as the default “About” page. Pages can be edited like articles in the editor and then appear automatically in the main menu. If you want to create more menus, you need the dashboard, which starts at the right place via the Menus link.
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To change the design of the weblog later, click on Themes and select a new theme – just as in step 2. Individual changes to the design template can be made after clicking on Customize. For example, depending on the theme, you can swap colors or change fonts and sizes.
6. The dashboard: the complete control center with all functions
Blog reader comments can only be edited in the dashboard. The useful widgets are hidden under Design: Building blocks that can be displayed in the sidebars and footers of the blog. Widgets show blog components in various ways, such as lists of popular posts or recent comments. To use a widget, drag it from the “Available Widgets” list on the left to an area provided by the design template on the right and fill in the necessary details. The dashboard gives you access to the media library already mentioned in step 3.